The immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday failed to appear before the State House of Assembly Committee probing the activities of his administration.
Also absent during the drilling was the immediate past commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade.
Daily Champion gathered that there was thorough interrogation of the former members of the State Exco including state officials that were present.
It was also gathered that the former Governor did major activities without the knowledge of his commissioners.
A former Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Olusegun Banjo revealed that the purchase of the 820 buses by the immediate past Governor Ambode was not rooted through his ministry.
Banjo, who disclosed that he became commissioner in February 2018, said he did follow the system he met on ground, which, according to him, was responsible for shady transaction on the buses that were procured.
“The way the ministry is structured, it did not allow us to function well. The N24 billion did not come to my Ministry. We didn’t have a running system. As a commissioner, I could not approve one naira. All the MDAs approached the Governor.”
He pointed out that the way the operation went during the last administration, “a lot of things could be done without the knowledge of the commissioner. It was not transparent.”
He, however, suggested that he would make available to the House his handing over note where he gave ways on how to address the lapses.
When the Accountant-General of the State, Mrs. Shukrat Umar , was asked if the budget for the purchase of the buses was approved by the State Executive Council, she said: “The State Treasury Office acted on Exco’s approval. The buses were in line with Exco’s approval. I would not know whether the Paris Refund Club was discussed or not.”
Also speaking, the former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kazeem Adeniji (SAN) said his role as a member of the steering committee of the state was nominal.
“I knew there was a lot of brouhaha about the approval for the buses but my role was peripheral.
“As regard the agreement in respect of the buses was done on my behalf,” saying as chief legal officer of the state, he could not have signed all agreements.
“My role is constitutional; it means I deal with all issues that relate to legal documentations. I can’t perform the role on my own, I have to delegate”, he said.
When asked who signed the agreement on his behalf, Adeniji simply said, “I can’t recollect the trajectory of the movement of that agreement.”
When further asked if the Exco discussed the purchase of buses, he said: “We can pull record from the SSG to have the minutes.”
Former General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Mr. Adeshina Tiamiyu, said he followed the scheme he met when he assumed office.
He explained that N340 million paid to a firm monthly was not signed by him, “I didn’t sign any contract papers.”
On the contrary, the current General Manager of LASEMA, Dr. Oke Osonyintolu said, “We have reviewed the system. I met a lot of challenges, now sign off (contracts) in conjunction with key agencies.”
Ex-commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Toyin Suarau, said government took a loan of N10 billion, which according to him, was raised through Ministry of Finance.
Members of the Committee stated that the loan was taken in respect of Rice Mill without the approval of the House.
Surau answered, “The issue of Rice Mill was above my power. The loan was taken in 2016. The PS briefed the Commissioner after the instruction was given by the Governor”.
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